teen fentanyl addiction

The Glaring Dangers of Teen Fentanyl Addiction

October 19, 2017

Fentanyl is a drug that has been available to the public for years. As little as a ¼ milligram of it can cause a fatal overdose. Fentanyl is now causing serious injury and death around the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have issued nationwide alerts concerning the dangers of fentanyl. Sedatives and fake prescription pills containing fentanyl are being sold. This has resulted in teenagers having deadly overdoses because they did not realize what they were taking.

History of Fentanyl

This is an opioid pain medication designed to be extremely strong. It was created in the 1960s and was an anesthetic for individuals having certain types of heart surgery. During the 1990s, fentanyl was used to treat chronic pain. It is now able to be taken with sprays and tablets. The intended use for it was to treat patients with severe chronic pain who had developed a tolerance for milder opioid pain medication. Fentanyl provides the user with a feeling of euphoria. It is often used to numb emotional pain as well as physical pain. When a person tries to stop using fentanyl; they experience intense and painful withdrawal symptoms. This has led many people to purchase it illegally and continue their fentanyl addiction.


Many teens have reported using their pain medication prescriptions to get high. The DEA estimates the numbers could he a high a 1 in 10 teens. During a six-year period, the visits to emergency rooms to treat prescription medication abuse by teens increased over 42 percent. There is a danger to teenagers who buy medication on the street because it could be counterfeit and contain fentanyl.

Reasons Teens Use Fentanyl

There are a variety of reasons fentanyl addiction occurs with teens. Not all of it has to do with their desire to get high. It may help them deal with peer pressure and their desire to fit in with those around them. In some cases, it may start out as a way to relieve pain from an injury, and the teen can’t stop using it. Many teens like how fentanyl helps numb them to any emotional pain they’re feeling. It’s also possible they could be using fentanyl to deal with underlying mental-health issues and more.

Obtaining Fentanyl

Teens are able to get fentanyl in many different ways. Some will initially experience the drug after being given a prescription for pain or because of an illness. The most common methods for a teenager to get fentanyl is from their friends, family members or other people they know. The DEA has surveyed teens and discovered over 69 percent of teenagers reported obtaining fentanyl from family, friends as well as acquaintances. In some cases, teens have stolen the drug from their parents or relatives. Others will search the internet and attempt to get it from online pharmacies. Some of these pharmacies are legal, but many do not operate according to the law.

Signs and Symptoms

teen fentanyl addictionIt is not easy to determine if a teenager is regularly using fentanyl. There are some physical signs of teen fentanyl addiction. They could be constantly nodding, not finding pleasure doing daily things with friends and family. A teenager could appear unable to make proper judgment, their pupils could be small and pin-point, they may temporarily fall asleep when others are talking to them. They may even sleep while standing and more.


The epidemic of teen addiction to fentanyl is increasing. It’s important every possible effort be made to prevent teens from using this drug. There are programs available to help educate teens with knowledge about the drug and help them develop the skills necessary to avoid abusing it. Many of these programs have been successful. Parents need to speak with their children about the dangers of fentanyl. The DEA has conducted studies that show when parents speak with their teens about using drugs, the teens are 50 percent less likely to abuse drugs than those whose parents do not speak with them.


When addiction to fentanyl happens, successful treatment is possible. A teenager may have to experience a medically supervised detoxification process. This will help them deal with the withdrawal symptoms. The most effective results have been with behavioral treatments being combined with the correct medications.

Hillcrest can provide inpatient therapy with qualified professionals who are experienced in providing treatment programs specifically designed to address teen fentanyl addiction. The goal will be to treat the disease while building a teen’s self-confidence and helping them develop a positive relationship with their family. They will learn accountability as well as respect for family, friends, those around them and more.